Consumer news

With Cost of Living Rising Fast, Experts Seek Solutions

Meka Boyle, San Francisco Public Press — Feb 8 2016 - 5:36pm

Live discussion on the cost of living: Everyone in San Francisco knows the cost of living has skyrocketed. What they might not realize is that consumer prices — led by escalating housing costs — are leaving many low- and middle-income families struggling to stay in the city while remaining above the poverty level.

High Housing Prices Undercut Aid Programs

Angela Woodall, San Francisco Public Press — Jan 21 2016 - 4:06pm

In 1999, during the last tech startup boom, about one-third of San Francisco households were putting more than half their pay toward rent or a mortgage. That's nothing compared with now.

How San Francisco Plans to Shield Residents From Runaway Prices

Angela Woodall, San Francisco Public Press — Jan 21 2016 - 4:01pm

We list some examples of how the city has tried to soften the blow of rising prices, and policies that advocates for low-income people say San Francisco could adopt.

You’re Not Crazy: Data Show Housing Saps Our Checkbooks

Amanda Hickman and Michael Stoll, San Francisco Public Press — Jan 21 2016 - 3:53pm

In the Bay Area, spending on housing has grown at twice the national rate. This graphic explains what’s grown how fast in the last four years.

Hidden Costs of Affordable S.F. Public Transit

Sophie Murguia, San Francisco Public Press — Dec 10 2015 - 8:00am

Lacking transportation options or flexibility to reach jobs, shopping and other necessities, lower-income riders often trade comfort, promptness and even safety for affordability.

Online Payment Firm Acteva Acknowledges Multimillion-Dollar Debt to Charities, Blames Cash-Flow Problem

Alex Kekauoha, San Francisco Public Press — Dec 9 2013 - 3:25pm

The top executive of Acteva, a San Francisco-based payment processing company, says he has a plan to dig out of $4 million to $5 million in debt and repay online donations owed to nonprofit organizations across the country. Still, some creditors — including a community college, an environmental group, an agricultural cooperative and a regional journalism organization — say they are owed tens of thousands of dollars each, and question whether the business will ever refund the money. Some are now taking legal action.

S.F.’s Minimum Wage, Highest in the Nation, Eludes Thousands as Enforcement Efforts Face Obstacles

Aaron Tilley and Michael Stoll, San Francisco Public Press — May 1 2013 - 11:07am

10-year-old reform unfinished as businesses routinely flout $10.55 mandate, labor activists say

This story is part of a special report in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

While San Francisco’s minimum wage is the highest in the nation, thousands of workers still earn below the current mandate of $10.55 an hour, say economists, anti-poverty activists and public officials. It has been 10 years since voters passed the groundbreaking labor reform, and the city has built a first-of-its-kind inspection team that has recovered back wages for more than 3,000 workers. But these efforts appear to have addressed only a fraction of the problem. ALSO: Listen to discussion of S.F.'s minimum wage enforcement on KALW Radio’s “Your Call” Friday Media Roundtable.

Testing Online Privacy Limits, OKCupid Lets Strangers Read Intimate Messages

Rachel Swan, SF Public Press — Mar 25 2013 - 2:19pm

Users on the popular dating site might not be aware of it, but fellow participants have been tapped to be community moderators, who have access to private correspondence. Those with access to the “moderation” button often are checking accounts that have been flagged for possible terms of service violations. But they also get to eavesdrop on what many users assumed to be private conversations.

How the Profits Upkeep Commission Helps PG&E Pick Your Pocket

David Cay Johnston, Special to SF Public Press — Nov 26 2012 - 1:34pm

The next time you pass a power pole consider this: Pacific Gas & Electric expects that pole to be there until the year 2357 and perhaps until 2785. The average PG&E pole has just nine years of useful life left, according to PG&E’s sworn testimony asking for more money to speed pole replacement. It got money through rate hikes to replace poles on a 50-year cycle, but it has been replacing them on a 346 to 778 year cycle while, by PG&E’s own testimony, diverting that money to other purposes.

Food Prices at Center of Debate Over GMO Labeling in Prop 37

Ambika Kandasamy, SF Public Press — Oct 29 2012 - 12:20pm

Proposition 37, the state ballot measure requiring labels on genetically modified food, has revived a long-simmering debate about whether genetically modified food harms human health or the environment. But it’s the claim by opponents that food prices would increase that is riling proponents.

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